Canberra has a great range of high tea options and this time around, Hoi Polloi was the venue of choice. With my mum and daughter along for the ride, we were ready for a morning of indulgence within the historic Old Parliament House. It was a (very) brisk Canberra morning shrouded in a thick fog and we arrived a few minutes early planning to settle in and relax. Alas, we were stopped at the door and told nobody could come in until exactly 10am. It was literally freezing, even a little below so we paced the verandah until the doors were finally opened.
You can imagine our disappointment when we stepped inside to find that there was no heating on and the room inside was every bit as cold as the foggy morning we'd just escaped. The groups inside were huddled like bedraggled penguins around their tables and people were clinging grimly to their puffer jackets for obvious reasons.
We flagged down a waitress and begged her to have someone turn the heating on and mercifully, around 20 minutes later it began to warm up. Thankfully from there, it was all uphill – the food arrived looking pretty as a picture. The menu included traditional high tea favourites like finger sandwiches, scones and macrons as well as modern twists like the charcoal bun slider with gold leaf. The servings were generous and there was a good variety of savoury options to balance out the sweets and scones. The twist of adding lemon myrtle to the scone may have left purists gasping in horror but for me, it was delicious and a nice surprise.
Scones and macarons are part of the High Tea at Hoi Polloi, Canberra
Champagne was poured, food was eaten and the room warmed up in both temperature and spirit as the high tea went on. The lavish interiors make Old Parliament House the perfect venue to experience a High Tea adding a bit of history and charm to the experience. From our table, we had a view through the lacquered wooden window to Parliament House across the foggy lawns. The location provides the opportunity to experience some of Canberra's other unique attractions too – the Museum of Australian Democracy is within Old Parliament House and the rose gardens are just across the road on either side of the main building. It's also an easy walk across the lawns to Parliament House.
Thankfully, the chilly start to the morning didn't ruin the experience overall and the food and service at Hoi Polloi were great. If you're thinking of trying a different High Tea experience, by all means, give Hoi Polloi a go, but whatever you do, don't arrive early if it's a cold morning.